Thursday, July 27, 2006

rudder of the soul

It is the mind that is the rudder of the soul. What you think affects what you feel.

A pastor gave this illustration...

It's 3 am in the morning, you're alone in a large house out in the 'boonies', in the dead of night - no one around. Suddenly you hear a creeking in the floor outside your room. You think, *INTRUDER!* and the adrenaline starts pumping; you're full of fear.

Another scenario:

It's 3 pm in the afternoon, you're alone in large house, but outside is the hustle and bustle of cars and schoolkids. Suddenly you hear a creeking the floor. You think *MR. JONES' STUPID CAT LOOKING FOR FOOD AGAIN*. All is well.

Emotions and feelings come and go.
If we were to wait for them to activate, we might never get anything done.
If we love someone only when the feelings are present, we'll hate them first thing in the morning, or after a sleepless night, or when sick in bed.
If we worship only when the feelings are present, then we're telling God that he's not worthy of praise about 85% of the time.

It is truth and commitment, which are held together by the mind that matters.
Perhaps love is nurtured after all.
Perhaps worship songs need to be sung with passion, not because passion is there, but because God deserves passion.

Monday, July 24, 2006

i take no notice
you count the hairs on my head
you rouse when one falls to the ground
it's just a hair
you take notice

you watch me sleep
count my breaths
your eyes brighten as mine break open
you hold your breath
you watch me wake

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Who loves most?

A: "Honey, today is our anniversary, so I bought you these flowers because it is my duty."
B: "Honey, today is our anniversary, so I bought you these flowers because I thought you'd like it."
C: "Honey, today is our anniversary, so I bought you these flowers because nothing brings ME more pleasure than making you happy."

(adapted from John Piper's Desiring God)

B is good, but C is better. Why?
In B, the beloved delights in the gift, for it is something she likes. But in C, the beloved delights in the gift, AND in the joy of the lover. Because he delighted in making her happy, the love feels that much more intense.

Have we idealised love so that it has become so fixated upon the other person so as not to be concerned about the self at all?

Augustine proposed that the Trinity is the relationship between the Lover, the Beloved and the Love that flows between them.

Love, when given away, returns as joy a hundred fold. Miserable love is not so much the kind that is not returned, but the kind that's not even received. Sappy Korean movies have this concept of miserable love, for example, "because I love you, I cannot be with you." This kind of love has the guise of sacrificial love, but is a miserable love lacking joy.

Love and joy go hand in hand.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I pictured myself as the godliest person I could ever be
Then I compared him to me
Wasn't happy with what I found
Because I saw that I was far from sound
What's one thing that irked my soul?
That I had rode on much, paid not the toll
All the tunes and all the vids
Stowed away in my digital lids
Along with sermons and Bible stuff
To break the dissidence, I've had enough
So while I'm still far from sound
Those sounds and those files won't be around
I can strike one more thing from my endless list
And search again for the things I've missed.

psalm of lament

There is always something more I can give to You
I can sing sweeter to You, play better for You,
shout louder, jump higher, raise my hands longer, bow lower, cry harder
And it would never come close to reflecting Your worth
It would be as touching the tattered edge of Your sandal
Much less serving the train of Your robe

In my fallenness am I forever bound
Bound to the fear of others, my clouded vision, my unbelief
I would pour oil unto Your altar,
only to regret it and sweep it back into my jar.
I've heard of one who would sacrifice his son to You
because he knew You and trusted You
Could I do the same?

In You I live and move and breathe
In Christ I have everything I need
Yet in worshipping You, in feelings do I lean.
And reflect Your praise only on things that I have seen.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The dictionary of Male-Female dynamics (men's addition)

An attempt to define what we know yet do not know how to express.
Because there's nothing unspiritual about being honest about what makes us tick.
Because being human is a good thing.

Chemistry: the dynamic state achieved between two people whereby the parties involved are comfortable, both with themselves and each with other, yet a force of attraction and curosity causes each to probe subtley into one another's psyche, and they love what they find.

Attraction (for guys): an irrational, instantaneous sensation stimulated by the presence and sight of a beautiful female form; further stimulated by hope or confidence that the female will respond positively and alluringly to his advances.

The Levels of Beauty from the male perspective:

1. Fugly - When a male perceives that few or no attractive genes have been inherited from the parental generation; visually repulsive. Men, beware of slander and mocking.

2. Homely - When certain key traits in the female form are considered abnormal or unshapely causing the overall figure to seem less than pleasing visually.

3. Average - A figure that evokes neither repugnance nor a second glace; having features that are plain or subtle; personality may have a great influence on possible attraction. Figure will tend to be either scrawny or slightly chubby.

4. Cute - Face is symmetrical and inviting, projecting a babyish roundness and innocence. Figure is shapely with no obvious extremes in appendage size; a type of figure evoking a hug-response. An unreasonable personality can often be written off with these looks. Men, beware of manipulation.

5. Pretty - Face and figure is symmetrical, shapely and healthy-looking; almost always warrants a second glance and apprepriation. Attention has been given to ensure that features are well groomed and evoke slight arousal. Unacceptable personality is very often insignificant in light of these looks.

6. Hot - Female possesses classically attractive features and has taken great pains to highlight her features (namely, the face, breasts, butt and legs) with external beauty products and erotic clothing. Her attempts, however, do have profound pay offs. Men, beware of lust.

7. Beautiful - the highest and most rare level of beauty. These females exhibit an external attractiveness, but also deep inner glow or 'presence'. Expression of godliness and character is essential and inseparable from the superficial display; both work in harmony and synergistically to enhance the other's traits. Men, find her!!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Gimme a dose of reality

You gotta be real.
I think a lot of times Christians, especially Chrisitian leaders, avoid revealing their weaknesses and neediness. They're especially careful to convey an invulnerability before those who would be their subordinates in the ministry, their mentorees, etc. Here are possible reasons: 1. they wouldn't want those under them to feel insecure about them as leaders; 2. they wouldn't want those under them to stumble and fall into a state of greater weakness; 3. they want to prove to them they are more mature as Christians, and by living a victorious Christian life, they have earned the right to impart wisdom upon the younger generation.

There are probably a whole list of possible reasons or combinations of the above. The point is, weakness is bad - don't let people see. It might give them a bad impression of God's powerful and sanctifying work.

Being in Bible school for a couple of years now, I realize how really weak people are. They go through the same struggles that 'ordinary' Christians face, yet they are not allowed to reveal it, lest they jeopardise the flock. Rather, they use carefully chosen words to convey an invulerability that they do not necessarily possess, but always point to some ideal that is not necessarily attainable.

When my former pastor was just beginning his ministry in our church, he asked us, "what would you want or expect of me?" I responded, "I want to know that you are one of us, struggling through life and not afraid to let it show." Well, I guess he turned out to be Mr. Perfect after all, cause I never saw a the release valve open even once to let out some reality of genuine human struggle. Thus, he always remained far ahead of the game. Sure, we respected him greatly, but always as someone we could never be like.

I see something a little different of Jesus. He even once lamented that he had no place to lay his head. He even wept, in public, in order to identify with the sorrow of his friends - even though he knew he was about to completely change the atmosphere of the funeral into a time of joyous celebration.

Does anyone actually think that the clergy are superheroes, walking 3 feet above the ground and hears God's voice audibly, every 5 minutes or so? Please.

Show me a man who isn't going through hardship and toil and isn't honestly lamenting about it, and I'll show you a man who's putting on a mask - a fake.